Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hamsa Doodle Paint

Hamsa  (hand), drawn, doodled and painted on an index page of an old atlas using India inks and gelly pen.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Many Spirals

For the Weekly Challenge #210 "Spiral", I decided to draw this familiar image of Buddha with a crown covered with spiral ringlets. The drawing shows a Buddha a lot younger and more stylized than I originally intended to :).

Thanks for visiting. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mushroom Spinach Peas Coconut Cashew Curry (Vegan)

An amazingly tasty dish prepared with simplest vegetables and with just a touch of exotic. Preparation and cooking time can be substantially reduced by using frozen peas and spinach and pre-washed and pre-cut mushroom. And none of these compromise the flavor is any way. What gives this dish its creamy texture is the addition  of coconut and cashews. It is also considerably lower in calories without the heavy cream that is typically use in such dishes.

Below are the cooking instructions. I have not given any measurements because you can really mix and match the vegetables and the condiments in any way you prefer:


Frozen spinach thawed, desired amount
Frozen peas thawed, desired amount
Pre-washed and cut mushrooms, desired amount
Potatoes, cooked and cubed
olive oil,  1-2 tablespoon
Chili powder or paprika, to taste
Turmeric, 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Cumin, 1/2-1 teaspoon
Dessicated coconut or coconut flakes, 1-2 tablespoon
Full cashew, 4-5

1. Soak cashews in warm water for about 15 minutes. Drain. Grind coconut and cashews in a blender with a little water till it is a smooth paste. Transfer the paste into a small dish.

2. Heat oil in a skillet. Add cumin and roast till it turns gold brown.

3. Add the mushrooms and cook till they turn soft.

4. Add the potatoes and sautee till they turn brown.

5. Add spinach and peas and heat till they are completed warmed. Add the coconut-cashew paste, salt and chili powder  to the vegetables along with some water. Let the whole mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with cooked rice or roti. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fabric Jewelry

Recently, I have started making jewelry with beads that I fabricate using my very own silk and cotton sari materials. I have come up with my own technique that allows to roll the beads without using glue. The beads come out soft. I combine them with pendants, crystal and metal beads to make one of a kind necklaces. They are  now available in my Etsy shop.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekly Challenge 209: St. Patty's

We are to use green in our tangle in honor of St Patrick's day for the Diva Challenge 209. What better spot for green than a parrot (my favorite bird)?

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dulce De Leche: South Indian Style (Thiratti Paal)

Thiratti Paal is similar to the Caribbean version of Dulce De Leche.  At core it is the same  sweetened milk, it is dense, textured and chewy and  therefore eaten straight. The process of its preparation is somewhat different. It is made from scratch with plain milk and sugar is added only  at the final stage of cooking.

It requires just three ingredients and the prep work is minimal. But it is not a quick dish to prepare and it requires a lot of your attention. At the end, when you pop a spoonful of thiratti paal into your mouth and taste the sublime sweetness of it, you will not grudge a single second that you spent in preparing it. Be warned. You will be tempted to consume a lot of it in one sitting!

Thiratti Paal (low calorie version)

Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours


Low fat milk: 1/2 gallon
Sugar: 4 tablespoons
Ghee: 3 tablespoon
Cardamom seeds from 4-5 pods


1. You will need to use an aluminum-clad dutch oven pot to cook the milk. The thick bottom will keep the milk from sticking to the bottom and burning.
2. On another post, I have described how to make  ghee. Ghee is added towards the end which enables the thickened milk to solidify and provides the richness to balance the sweetness of the sugar.


1. Pour milk into the pot and begin heating on medium flame. Initially, stir the milk every ten minutes or so to keep it from sticking to the pot. But as the milk thickens, you will have stir more frequently and towards the end continuously. Make sure the milk does not boil over. See photos below.

2. As the milk thickens, it will slowly turn into a nutty brown color. After an hour and a half, the milk would have thickened and reduced to 1/4 of its original volume. At this point, add sugar and one tablespoon of ghee.

3. Continue to stir and periodically add some ghee. As you keep stirring the milk, it will slowly congeal into a solid mass. Turn the heat off and allow it to cook more in the residual heat.

4.  Transfer into a bowl and sprinkle with cardamom.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cauliflower Curry

Cauliflower, which is becoming a trendy vegetable, got a shout-out from the New York Times in a recent article. The article called cauliflower "a feisty vegetable that can take a punch" and recommended cooking it with bold spices in high heat. It goes on to say "Asian spices marry well with cauliflower". Well indeed. In northern India, cauliflower (Phool gobi) is one of several winter time vegetables eaten with roti or Indian flat bread.

One of my favorite ways of making gobi curry is the one I learned from my mother. What my mother used to do was to add a tablespoon or two of gram flour (besan) when the curry is almost cooked and give the curry to good toss and saute it for a few extra minutes. What one gets is a texture and taste of pakoras without the oil and the deep frying.

Here is how to do it:

1. Cauliflower
2. Usual spices (salt, turmeric, chilli powder, masala)
3. One tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon coconut oil
4. 1-2 tablespoon of besan (gram flour)
4. Black mustard for tempering


1. Cut the vegetable in medium sized chunks. The vegetable should be able to retain its shape after cooking.

2. In a pan heat oil and add the mustard.
3. After the mustard has finished popping, add the cut cauliflower.
4. Add the spices and saute in low heat till cauliflower is cooked. Cook it al dente. That is, it should still retain its shape and crunchiness.

5. Add the coconut oil now and sprinkle the besan on top. Toss with spatula so that the oil and besan coat the cauliflower uniformly.

6. Turn up the heat little and continue to saute till the besan turns brown.

7. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish. Serve with rice or roti.

Enjoy. Thanks for visiting


Working on small surfaces and creating micro objects: (1) fabric journal pendants 1"x 1", (2) decorating 1.5" tall pots (they fit nicely in the plastic case in which iMac mouse was packaged); (3) painting wood elephant 2.5" tall.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fried Bread (Poori) in Sweetened Milk (Paal Bholi)

Paal Bholi is a Tamilian delicacy. It is usually made during the Pongal festival. It can be caloric heavy but is amenable to low-cal modification that is still tasty and flavorful. I tend to make it whenever I am stuck in the house usually during snow days. Today is one of those days. I made the low-cal version because I had a gallon of 1% milk sitting in the refrigerator that was past its expiry date. Mind you, low-caloric or not, it is addictive!

Paal Bholi; Low Cal version

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking tie: 15 minutes
Eating time: 1 minute !


1/2 gallon of 1% milk
Sugar: 1/4 cup
Saffron strings: a pinch
All purpose flour: 1/2 cup
Corn oil to fry
water: 1 tblsp
salt to taste

1. Pour the milk into a heavy pan or a dish and cook on a low simmer till the milk is reduced in half. (This process will take about 30 minutes.) To prevent sticking, stir the milk regularly. Add sugar and saffron strings. Transfer the milk to a wide shallow dish and continue to heat it on low simmer.

2. While the milk is cooking, in  a bowl mix flour and water and knead to a smooth dough. The dough should be firm. If it is soft, add more flour. Put it in a ziploc bag and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the bag and make small balls, the size of a quarter. Roll the ball thinly into a round disk (poori).

4. Heat oil in a deep skillet. To test the heat, drop a tiny piece of dough into the oil. If the piece comes up right away sizzling, then the oil is ready for frying.

5. Fry the poori one at a time. Remove from oil when it turns brown and puffy. Drop the poori straight into the hot simmering milk.

6. Turn off the heat. Soak the pooris in the hot milk for 15-20 minutes. The pooris will become soft and soggy with sweetened milk and ready to eat.